I am so excited that our pilgrimage to the Holy Land is finally here! We have been planning and preparing for months. I have made lists of things to be packed, things to do before being away from the office for two weeks, instructions for those taking care of our pets…so many lists. And I have checked them all at least 5 times so I know that I am ready for our departure tomorrow, or more accurately I am prepared to leave tomorrow.
For as long as I can remember, I have had anxiety issues. As a child, this meant that I was cautious and often had an uneasy stomach. As I got older I got better at knowing when I would be anxious and made plans to help keep me calm…have a backpack with any supplies I might need (snacks, water, an activity), arrive with a friend to ensure I would have someone to talk to, know how to get a hold of my parents in case I needed them (remember this was before cellphones). Over the years these plans and tools have become second nature so I no longer have to check to make sure I have these things, I always do.
I am sharing my struggles with everyone reading this because the feelings of excitement and anxiety are so close together. As our pilgrimage gets closer and closer I find myself torn between the two. I am prepared as I can be, all my bags are packed, Rob will be by my side the entire time, I will know at least 5 other people in the Holy Land (once the other pilgrims from Saint James join up with us), and through the amazingness of technology I will be able be in contact with anyone I need to back home.
I am prepared…all that is left now is to be ready. This is my first pilgrimage. I have done everything I know to do to prepare for a trip, but a pilgrimage isn’t just a trip, it isn’t just an experience. A pilgrimage is a holy journey. On this specific pilgrimage I hope to be truly present in my surroundings, to allow myself to be formed by what I experience, to join my prayers with those near and far as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
I am prepared…I am becoming ready…all that is left to do is pray…
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole
creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve
those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect
them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their
journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer, 831